2017 Reading Session Picks: Children's Choir

Last week, I shared my top 12 reading session picks for adult choir; today, I'm sharing my favorites from this year’s Choristers' Guild reading session - lots of good music to consider for your choir this year!

Some of these anthems are new this year; others have been around for a while, but are worth considering, if you don't already have them in your library. I especially loved the ones that include optional rhythm or choir chime parts, as this is a great way to get more children involved and incorporate another dimension of music-making into your rehearsals.

Even if the anthem doesn't call for it, this is a relatively easy way to tailor a piece to your group and resources. Pull out part of the piano accompaniment (the bass line or perhaps the notes that fall on downbeats in the melody line) and add bells or chimes. Create a simple rhythmic ostinato pattern to accompany one of the verses, or give a few children triangles or finger cymbals to play during an interlude. Be creative!

2017 Reading Session Picks

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Christ Was Born on Christmas Day (Pat Messick)
Unison/2-part with keyboard and opt. rhythm instruments (drum, triangle, finger cymbals, flute, recorder)

A tried-and-true classic, this is a sweet anthem for young voices that goes through the whole story of Christmas, with each verse talking about the different characters (shepherds, angels, wise men).

The Light of God’s Love (Mark Burrows)
Unison/2-part with opt. percussion

An upbeat, accessible anthem about God’s light in each of us, incorporating “This Little Light of Mine."

Treasures in Heaven (Pat Messick)
Unison/2-part with keyboard

With text from Matthew 6:19, this lyrical anthem is a sweet reminder that “where your treasure is, there your heart will be, too."

Shine Your Light (Terry Taylor)
Unison with keyboard

A great collection of three unison pieces (perfect for younger elementary choirs!) all focused on a different Scripture verse related to light: "I Am the Light,” "Shine Your Light,” and "Walk As Children of Light.” Beautiful melodies, nice piano accompaniments, and meaningful texts.

Ut Vitam Habeant (That They May Have Life) (Ruth Elaine Schram)
Unison/2-part with keyboard and opt. C instrument

A wonderful way to introduce Latin to your children’s choir! Imitative two-part writing in the middle section make this fairly accessible for choirs just learning to sing in parts. Text based on John 10:10.

Give Praise to God (Timothy Shaw)
Unison/2-part with keyboard

Based on Psalm 150, this jubilant, but still lyrical anthem in 6/8 time would be a good "challenge piece" for an older elementary choir.

Joyful, Joyful (arr. Craig Curry)
Unison/2-part with keyboard

A fun, creative setting of the traditional hymn tune and text. The choral parts are the same as you’d find in the hymnal, but the accompaniment makes it sound like a whole new piece!

Your Servant I Will Be (Mark Patterson)
Unison/2-part with keyboard

A beautiful melody with gentle syncopation and great mission-oriented text: “Your grace is alive in me that the world may know your love.”

What are your favorite children’s choir anthems? What will you be singing with your choir this year?